Color naming

Good place. Bad time. Wrong color. Are “thoughts and prayers” our only response for ten Buffalo shooting deaths due to their black skin? Eric Foster

ATLANTA – On Saturday, May 14, ten people were murdered at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York. Célestine Chaney, 65, who was at the market with her sister at the time of the shooting, had overcome breast cancer and survived three brain aneurysms. Tops regular Roberta Drury, 32, moved to Buffalo to help run her older brother’s restaurant and care for his children after he received a bone marrow transplant to treat his leukemia. Andre Mackniel, 53, was at the market to pick up a surprise birthday cake for his son, who had just turned 3. Katherine “Kat” Massey, 72, wrote a letter to the editor of her local newspaper, The Buffalo News, literally a year ago, urging the federal government to take action to address gun violence. Margus Morrison, 52, was at the market to buy snacks for a weekly movie night with his wife and daughter-in-law. Heyward Patterson, 67, a taxi driver, was shot dead outside the market as he waited for passengers. Aaron Salter, 55, a retired Buffalo police officer, tried to stop the carnage by shooting the killer, but the killer was wearing a bulletproof vest. Geraldine Talley, 62, was shopping with her fiancé. Ruth Whitfield, 86, stopped by the market after her daily ritual of visiting her husband in a nursing home. Pearl Young, 77, was taken to Tops by her sister-in-law after a prayer breakfast at church because it was the nearest supermarket. Young had never shopped at Tops before that day.

Admittedly, that seems a bit personal to me. Any of these victims could have been my mother, my brother, my sister, my uncle, my cousin, etc. They did absolutely nothing to cause their death. They were not in a place where one could say that this violence was a possible consequence. They were in a grocery store in the middle of the afternoon. The only thing they did was be black. Good place. Bad time. Wrong color.

I feel like I’ve written about mass shootings before, so I spent hours thinking about how I could say something different this time. Something unique. Something new and fascinating that might compel people who would otherwise dismiss these types of massacres as the cost of our Second Amendment freedom to reconsider this uncompassionate attitude.

Yes, it seems a little selfish to believe that what I say can change anything. But believe me, ego plays no part in this. It is not my ego, but a sense of duty that obliges me to do so. This column is a platform. I owe it to those before me who could not have such a platform to use it to address the concerns of my community. Ten people who looked like me were murdered in broad daylight simply because they looked like me. I can’t say nothing about it. At the very least, I have a duty to recognize it. Even though the press and general public have moved on, a lot of people like me haven’t.

So, like I said, I spent hours thinking about what to say. I thought there must be something. The pen is mightier than the sword. Or in this case, the gun.

I’m sorry to report that although I gave a good try, I failed. I did not understand. There is nothing new under the sun to say.

I thought I could talk about how bad mass shootings are, but that’s already been said. I could talk about how politicians on both sides of the aisle will start with ‘thoughts and prayers’, then Democrats will call for gun legislation, and Republicans will turn to mental health, with a nuance not-so-subtle of “Nobody takes my guns”, and after all that, nothing changes. Except for the details of the next shootout: the shooter’s name, the location, and possibly the number of bodies lying on the ground after it’s over. But that has already been said.

I could talk about how the wave of laws to keep racial discussions out of the classroom, under the guise of outlawing “critical race theory,” only serves to create more racist teenagers like the Buffalo shooter, no less. But I know this discussion will get me nowhere. Again, the issue is mental health, not racism. Also, I’m sure it’s been said before.

I could talk about how lawmakers who argue that gun laws won’t solve anything reap the benefits of a safe workplace where guns are legally prohibited and armed guards enforce that prohibition. I could talk about how constitutional porting “makes every place safer” except the Statehouse. Lawmakers talk about a big game, but they know that keeping guns out of places like the Ohio Statehouse makes them safer. But I don’t think a lot of people care about that…inconsistency. Moreover, again, this has already been said.

I could talk about how we ignore our moral obligation to look out for each other when we do nothing in response to these shootings. How our inaction reveals the non-existence of our sense of community. How we wave flags and demand that we all swear allegiance to the idea of ​​America, but we don’t act with any kind of allegiance to each other – the people who make that idea real. But that has already been said.

Eric Foster is a columnist for The Plain Dealer and cleveland.com.

I could talk about all these things, but it won’t change anything. Really, what’s there to say after another hate-filled shooter wantonly destroys members of the group he hates? We have already seen this film several times. Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston. Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. The Atlanta spa shooting.

Apparently, this is a problem that is incapable of solution. Our children will live with mass shootings. Our children’s children will live with them.

That said, the only hope for security in the future is autonomy. If we want to be safe, we must all learn to use firearms. The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, right?

Just remember that on May 14 there was a good guy with a gun – a retired cop, even. Aaron Salter shot the bad guy. The problem was that the bad guy had an AR-15 type rifle and he was wearing a bulletproof vest.

I have nothing to say other than this: I hope that the victims of the next mass shooting will not be someone you know or love. And if so, I’ll be sure to send you my thoughts and prayers.

Editorial Board Community Member Eric Foster is a columnist for The Plain Dealer and cleveland.com. Foster is a lawyer in private practice. The opinions expressed are his own.

To reach Eric Foster: [email protected]

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